Raw Video: Lake Delton Homes Swept Away By Flood Waters
LAKE DELTON - Engineers and contractors began work here Tuesday to repair damage done when a 267-acre lake overflowed and drained the day before.
Click on the links under related content to see video and pictures from the scene, and to see a reporter describe the scene via a phone interview.
Meanwhile, other communities in southern Wisconsin continued to fight rising water and shore up seeping dams.
Gov. Jim Doyle said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would have teams in the state Wednesday to help assess flood damage, and his office said he would seek a federal disaster declaration when that was done.
FEMA officials were expected to begin visiting flooded areas Thursday, including Sauk, Columbia, Milwaukee, Vernon and Crawford counties.
In Lake Delton, a dozen workers worked Tuesday to stretch a temporary sewer line across the 200-yard breach where the lake had washed out a highway embankment, forcing a new channel to the Wisconsin River.
Rushing water had ripped apart underground sewer lines as it poured through the breach, and Tuesday morning raw sewage was still pouring out of the pipes and running downstream.
State engineers and water specialists looked at the site from the ground and a helicopter Tuesday, said Laurel Steffes, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources. They also planned to meet with local officials to discuss cleanup efforts, she said.
It won't be difficult to refill the lake once permits are obtained, said Allen Steele, a contractor the village hired to run the temporary sewer line. The work would start with damming the breach, he said.
But village trustee Tom Diehl, who met with state officials Tuesday, said water isn't expected to be back in the lake before the end of summer. That will cause economic hardship in the tourist area, he said: "No question about it."
The National Guard was flying over flooded areas, including Lake Delton, Dodge County and Vernon County, to look at dams Tuesday, said Mike Goetzman, a spokesman for Wisconsin Emergency Management. The agency also expected the Mississippi National Guard to send an aircraft equipped with high definition cameras to do flights throughout the area, Goetzman said.
Over 100 roads remained closed across the state and 100 people were in shelters, Doyle said.
DNR crews on the ground visited dams throughout the southern and western part of the state to begin assessing damage from the weekend storms. They also were monitoring water levels at a slew of dams that were failing or seeping, Wisconsin Emergency Management spokeswoman Jessica Iverson said.
In Thiensville, a small community just north of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee River overflowed its banks, sending water into the village and causing officials to close Main Street.
The village park was largely under water, with softball diamonds partially covered and a picnic shelter fully submerged. Water rushed over the top of the dam, making it barely visible.
State and local officials gathered at the Mukwonago Dam, about 30 miles southwest of Milwaukee, after it became obstructed by a bog Tuesday morning. Water flowed around the dam before the bog was cleared, creating concern about whether it was structurally sound.
Officials warned residents in the small communities of Big Bend, Town of Vernon, Tichigan and Waterford to watch for water problems, but Mukwonago village clerk Steve Braatz said Tuesday afternoon that even if the dam failed, water would flow into the Fox River and no homes would be in harm's way.
Water in other areas, such as at the Horlick Dam in Racine County, had started to recede by the afternoon.
Racine County officials were considering allowing people to return to homes along the Root River, after a voluntary evacuation over the weekend, said David Maack, Racine County's emergency management coordinator. With the water receding and rain holding off, officials hoped to begin making damage estimates, Maack said.
"If everything continues the way it is and the weather holds out, hopefully we're going to be able to go into a recovery mode versus a response mode," he said.
About 10 historic circus wagons, musical instruments and other artifacts were moved to higher ground as the Baraboo River threatened to flood the Circus World Museum. The river cuts through the museum property and was expected to crest there at about seven feet above its normal height, museum director Steve Freese said. He expected the museum to reopen Wednesday.
Forecasters expect more rain, about an inch, throughout southeast Wisconsin starting Thursday afternoon and into the evening, said Alex Lamers, a meteorologist intern with the National Weather Service in Sullivan. But he said the storm front will be gone by Friday morning and won't stay put like this past weekend's storms.
"We're not expecting a couple of days where a front just hangs up and we get pounded with rain," Lamers said. "It should move through relatively quickly."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)